Ayurveda, a system of traditional medicine native to India, which uses a range of treatments, including panchakarma ('five actions'), yoga, massage, acupuncture and herbal medicine, to encourage health and wellbeing, highlights changes in stages of life to be the source of patterns of sleep disturbance.
And at other times, for women in particular, Ana Davis of "Moving with the Moon" adds that such disturbance may also occur during the days leading up to the beginning of a woman's cycle.
Thankfully my younger years came with a keen interest in learning and practicing Yoga and today I'm equipped with tools I can safely apply, one of which is relevant to getting in a good night's sleep and or recover from a night of sleep disturbance due to the inevitable! With such a discipline comes gratitude and a natural inclination to share what I have learnt along the way.
Check out these 3 tips to get in a good night's sleep and or recover from that night of tossing and turning:
1. A posture with the body (Asana)
Viparita Karani aka Legs Up the Wall pose (or in this case Legs up the bedhead!). King of restorative postures, aside from Savasana (Corpse) pose that is, particularly great for kicking in the parasympathetic nervous system for 'sleep time', lowering the heart rate, leading the brain into the brain wave for sleep time, not to mention at the same time giving your lymphatic system a good boost! Facelift anyone?
If you're already familiar with this gem of a posture you get me, right? Aha... For those who aren't, well now's your chance to get in on some tricks of the trade AND get some real juice out of your yoga practice.
"How?" I hear you ask... Get into this posture 5 minutes before your bedtime and have yourself a full night's sleep. "But wait...", I hear you say, "can't be possible....I've had trouble getting a full night's sleep for a long time and I'm bound to wake up again through the night!" If you wake up again through the night, easy, just get into the posture again, for up to 5 minutes, and back to sleep you go. Repeat this for as long as you are willing and overtime your brain will get acquainted to this new way of being and will start to kick in the relevant brain wave for sleep time on it's own and for the whole night. If you really want to be clever, try it at the same time each night... And of course, if 5 minutes is too long, start with 1 minute and build it up to 5 minutes.
Visit Yoga Journal's Step-by-Step instructions for how to get into Viparita Karani and the contraindications and cautions before trying this pose, and more great benefits, http://www.yogajournal.com/pose/legs-up-the-wall-pose/ . Enjoy!!!!
2. A posture with the hand (Mudra)
"But at that time of the night it is so cold, the last thing I want to do is get out of my warm bed!" I hear you thinking... If you're in the Winter season, stay in bed and try Jnana Mudra instead, tips of the index and thumb fingers touching. This mudra - hand gesture (of the beneficial type) - is specifically used for insomnia, it clears the mind and brings peace to the soul. Ahhh...
3. And ofcourse, a recipe!
You might like to prepare an ayurvedic hot drink specifically to relieve insomnia and can be consumed anytime of the year. From "The Ayurvedic Cookbook" by Amadea Morningstar & Urmila Desai, help yourself to a Hot Milk with Nutmeg.
Preparation time: 10 minutes.
Ingredients: 1 cup raw milk (goat milk if less tolerant)
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Method: Bring the milk to a boil, reduce heat and stir in the nutmeg. Simmer for 5 minutes, strain.
*If you experience ongoing sluggishness and or are generally more inclined to skip that exercise session, it's suggested to have this hot drink only occasionally. ;)
I invite you to give either or all a go and if you do I'd love to hear how it all turns out for you, you can drop me an email or reply below.
If your sleep disturbance persists, feel free to make a time for a private consult to develop a plan that may include other postures and practices, and lifestyle tips, that are more specific to your particular circumstance.